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Gender Roles in Violence

Violence may occur in different levels and ways. Such act may take the form of verbal, physical, psychological, and sexual abuse. Likewise, violence could be inflicted by any individual, institutions, groups or nations. Any form of violence could threaten the body of the victim in the most complex way (Jarvis, 2008). Violence against women is one of the most documented issues over the past century. Specifically, during the past three decades, violence towards women has been acknowledged as a serious and pervasive social issue and has been studied.

The reported victimization appeared in the forms of physical assaults, completed and attempted sexual assaults, and stalking. Although young females are consistently taught to become cautious of strangers, documents indicate that they are more likely to be victimized by the people they knew such as a friend, intimate partner, or colleague, rather than a stranger (Renzetti & Bergen, 2004). As a result, studies reveal that intimate partner violence is one of the most serious forms of women’s violent victimization (Tjaden & Thoennes, 2000 cited in Renzetti & Bergen, 2004).

Records indicate that the existence of physical and sexual abuse of women by their intimate partners has already occurred during the past centuries (Dobash & Dobash, 1979; Pleck, 1987 cited in Renzetti & Bergen, 2004). It has only been in the past 30 years that violence against women has been acknowledged as a social issue. According to C. Wright Mills (1959), violence perpetrated by intimate partners towards women was only a “personal trouble” until it was seen as a public problem and was acknowledged as a social issue.

Until the 1970’s, violence directed to wives was viewed as a problem occurring in dysfunctional couples and was a matter that should be resolved in private. On the other hand, sexual assaults were treated as a crime committed by men who were mentally unstable and men who were provoked by their victims who consented to the sexual act and then afterwards changed their minds or were dressed provocatively which led them on (Mills, 1959 cited in Renzetti & Bergen, 2004). Statement of the Problem

Every now and then, the consistency of media to expose such inhumane act has become a channel for the society to recognize violence as a pervasive and serious problem. Media has also been consistent in presenting the impact of violence among the female victims and the society. However, one of the major issues often neglected by many is the role of the differential power of males and females in the infliction of violence. In this regard, it is an imperative to give a strong solution to the question: How do gender roles contribute to the issue of women violence in an intimate relationship?

The aim of this study is to give further emphasis on the role of gender in the infliction of violence on women in an intimate relationship. This study also seeks to identify whether the traditional belief of male dominance as well as power and control has something to do with the continuous existence of intimate partner violence. According to John Hamel (2005), it has been noticed that the past interventions for women violence in an intimate relationship were solely based on assumptions.

Likewise, majority of society view women violence in an intimate relationship as a reaction involving emotional issues wherein the perpetrator is always the men. One assumption that has been an immediate consequence of societal notion is that men are motivated to exert violence against their partners due to their need to dominate the women, and that the ultimate cause of partner violence is rooted in the patriarchal structure of the society where women are oppressed.

Nevertheless, the aim of this study is not to strengthen the said assumption; rather, it seeks to examine whether such assumption and the like are still the prevailing reasons for the existence of women violence. Methodology Documenting the said issue, however, requires the development of methods suited in bridging the knowledge with respect to women violence in an intimate relationship. In order to generate solutions to the given situation, analysis of existing data will be used.

Through the said method, statistics from past surveys related to the study will be acquired. Likewise, the use of existing data analysis will help in the establishment of information that is imperative in the formulation of solutions. In addition to this, since the said method can be regarded as an analysis of secondary sources, data that could be drawn through this method are inexpensive and can be obtained with less effort, and the analysis can be done in lesser period. However, the said advantages of analyzing existing data are balanced with some disadvantages.

The researcher has considered the idea that some of the data that can be derived from data analysis may not be collected for the purpose of research; hence, the researcher has no control over the data that can be collected. There is also a possibility that the reported data can be outdated, and there is no assurance that direct measures were applied by past data gatherers which post issues on the underlying responses of the respondents such as the individual’s values, reasons, beliefs and the likes. Even so, analysis of existing data can be an important source for answering queries related to the study.

It is also useful as an exploratory method which may eventually lead to the discovery of new ideas. Sociological Theories Various theories emerged as an attempt to explain the behaviors of both the batterer and victims. The role of gender in inflicting violence against women in an intimate relationship has also been posted by some researchers in order to further understand why such form of violence exists. The use of Patriarchal Theory and the Feminist Theory are attempts to further understand how the society perceives gender-stereotyping.

However, alongside the presentation of the said theories are the shortcomings posted by experts in relation to both theories which are detrimental to the development of new theoretical models that can expound the role of gender in women violence. The patriarchal explanation of partner violence affirms that the assaults of men towards their partners are extensions of patriarchy, asserting that maintaining dominance over women is an inherent right for men, and by doing so, women are denied (omitted “with) access to legal, economic, political, and educational resources (Dobash & Dobash, 1979 cited in Hamel, 2005).

However, such theory poses significant flaws. First, it was identified that the current social status of women are parallel to those of men, and only few household are observed to have male-domination in respect to decision making (Coleman & Strauss, 1990 cited in Hamel, 2005). Second, the attitude of patriarchy does not post the ability to distinguish abusive men from non-abusive one’s (Sugarman and Frankel, 1996 cited in Hamel, 2005). Lastly, such theoretical perspective does not present adequate explanation for the existence of partner violence among homosexuals (Hamel, 2005).

Related to Patriarchal Theory is the concept of Feminist Theory which was developed in 1970 during the advent of women’s movement and the increasing attention in partner violence. This theory posits that violence, most especially battering, is a tool used by males in order to have control over females. Violence can range from physical abuse, sexual violence, social isolation, and withholding of financial resources in order to “undermine the woman’s autonomy and limit her power in the relationship” (Chalk & King, 1998, p. 37 cited in Roberts, 2002, p. 30).

Very much like patriarchal theory, the feminist theory claims that the perpetration of women violence is rooted in the expectations of traditional gender-roles and the disparity of male and female powers. Likewise, this theory is treated as a “sociological-structural approach. ” According to this approach, “male perpetrator is to blame for the violence, and women are unlikely to leave because they lack economic and political power” (Chornesky, 2000, p. 487 cited in Roberts, 2002, p. 30).

In this type of thinking, people tend to overlook the extent to which women exert coercive authority which affects the decision of males to perpetrate violent acts (Hooks, 2000). The research design discussed in this paper is a pathway towards understanding the role of gender in the perpetration of women violence in an intimate relationship. The information that can be obtained in the actuation of this research may not be the rightful justification in understanding the perpetration of women violence, but it will serve as a support in further understanding the issue and an opportunity to strengthen related studies conducted during the past.

References Hamel, J. (2005). Gender-inclusive Treatment of Intimate Partner Abuse: A Comprehensive Approach. Warren, MI: Springer Publishing Company. Hooks, B. (2000). Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center. London: Pluto Press. Jarvis, C. (2008). World of the body: Violence. Answers. com Retrieved November 12, 2008 from http://www. answers. com/topic/violence. Renzetti, C. M. & Bergen, R. (2004). Violence Against Women. San Diego, CA: Rowman and Littlefield. Roberts, A. R. (ed. ). (2002). Handbook of Domestic Violence Intervention Strategies: Policies, Programs, and Legal Remedies. New York: Oxford University Press.

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